Carodejnice takes place on the night of 30 April, ending on 1st May. This is a very old, but popular folk tradition beginning at dusk when bonfires are lit to celebrate the coming of spring. In the past the fires were lit to ward off witches and part of the process included the burning old broom sticks. These days kids love to dress in costumes and are fully encouraged to participate as well as all women. Here is quick rundown on where to go to experience this tradition!.
And Yes, the Green Witch is really ME!!!
Funny enough, women in the Czech Republic get teased as to which one of them should be burned the night of the bonfire or which one of them has already prepared her broom stick to fly in with. I’m sure it wasn’t so funny a few centuries ago when many of us innocent women really would be burnt!
On the night families usually meet up with friends and grill czech sausage over the fire. As you can imagine it is followed by beer drinking and costume parades through the town. Kids also dress up in scary costumes. In a way I would compare it to an American Halloween night. Last year my family spent Carodejnice in Ladronka Park, Prague 6 which I’d say is the biggest Carodejnice event in the whole of Prague.
In Prague you get can get a taste of this tradition in several places. Usually every large park will host some kind of get together. Here are some tips where you can meet the costumed crowd and let your kids get a glimpse of the magic and smell of Carodejnice. Its a great attraction for kids to roast their own sausage on a wooden stick. Fire and the grilling sticks are prepared as a part of the show and if like us you forget to bring your own sausages, bread and knife you can buy ready made ones on the spot, but be prepared for some queing.
LADRONKA PARK, Prague 6
30 April at 15:00 - 22:00. Expected to be big.
15:00 - 16:30 Registration for the Miss Witch Competition
Theatre Show, Bonfire, Music Show, Light Show, Worshops for Kids, Refreshment stands, Sausage roasting.
Big and small visitors are most welcome to join in the fun and competitions such as Miss Witch, There will be also a Witch Beauty Salon, Harry Potters School, Workshop and other activities. Despite the many activities there will be plenty of time for the traditional grilling of sausages and playing the guitar next to the flaming bonfire. Don’t forget to bring a mask, or paint your face at least! Last year it was a great experience with many activities for kids.
More about Ladronka park and directions: here
CENTRAL PARK PANKRAC, Prague 4
30 April at 15:00 - 22:00
Organised by the Green Doors Organisation and CAFE na pul cesty. Focusing on psychososcial rehabilitation. This cafe is one of the worshops for mentally ill people who learn working and socialisation skills necessary to interact and reintegrate into sociaty. Therefore part of the programe will be presentations of the pottery products made by members of this ogranisation.
As well as, a bouncy castle, theathre show for Kids, Bonfire, workshops for kids, refreshments stands, which burning.
Further Information: http://www.greendoors.cz/cafe_na_pul_cesty/o_kavarne
KAMPA PARK, Prague 1
April 30 at 19:00
The children’s program begins at 7 p.m with a costume parade from Malostranske Namesti to the park where a bonfire begins at 8pm. It starts from Mostecká Street. For kids there will be a bouncing castle for free (although it may be canceled in case of bad weather). Refreshments will be available at the site such as stands with grilled sausages and beverages of all kinds. Kampa Witches’ Night celebrations on this central urban island next to Mala Strana is organized by the Charles Bridge Artists Association in cooperation with the district.
More about Kampa Playground: here
PRAGUE MARINA (Obcanska Plovarna), Prague 5
April 30 at 15:00
15:00 - 20:00 Programe for kids, 22:00 afterparty
Looks like there will be a rich programe from 15:00 for kids: a Fairy Tale Bus, Face painting, Miss Witch contest, Fire show, Clown, Raffle, Play station stand, Kids DISCO.
Entrance fee: a donation of 30 czk
Further information: here
BOBOVKA RESTAURANT - Bobsleigh Track, Prague 9
April 30 from: 15:00 - 22:00
19:00 Bonfire Lit
Traditional roasting of sausages, games and competitions for the little ones. In addition to the playground, they have prepared a hosted children’s show and games for kids. Kids can create characters of witches and more! Ignition of the main bonfire at 19:00 pm. Don’t miss out on grilled veal steak, sausages and other snacks. Entry and parking is free.
Further information: http://www.prague-catering.cz/provozovny/Restaurace-Bobova-draha/carodejnice-praha-2011/ including pictures from Carodejnice 2010
More about Bobleigh Track and Bobovka restaurant and directions: here
ZLUTE LAZNE (the Yellow Spa by River), Prague 4
April 30 at 14:00 - 20:30
Kids programme starts at 14:00 and features: mask workshop, glitter facepainting, witches theatre show.
There will be a rich musical programme but I imagine this is more aimed at adults rather than kids. At least comparing to the other places.
The whole event will be accompanies by traditional refhresments, such as grilled sausages, rosted pork and lots of beer.
More about Zlute Lazne and directions: here
BERCHTOLD CASTLE Sports Centre, Kunice
April 30 at 15:00
15:00 start of parade through the Fairy tale park in masks and on broom sticks
15:45 Local school kids dancing show
17:00 Bonfire lit up - sausage roasting - one sausage per child and welcome drink included in the entrance fee:
Adults: 130czk, Kids: 110czk ,Family: 2+1 – 260czk + each additional child 70czk
Further information and directions: here” title=“here”>here
The night of 30th April to 1st May has always been considered magical. The dates straddle the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. Our ancestors believed that on this night the witches were meeting for the Witches Sabbath, and indeed, this night is one of the biggest Pagan holidays. People also believed that various caves and underground caverns would open up, leading to the possibilities of finding hidden treasure. The main purpose of this old folk festival was a celebration of fertility.
To protect against witches (and from evil spirits and demons in general) bonfires were lit in elevated places. Over time, these fires became known as burning witches. Ash from these fires were believed to increase crop yields or touching the ashes would ensure fertility in cattle herds. This explains the tradition of jumping over the fire in order to ensure your youth and fertility!